RELIGIOUS CALENDAR

July-August 2016

The calendar below, created by Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, is an excellent way to keep on top of religious high holy days and festivals as they go by. It is especially useful for those in interfaith vocations who need this information on a day-to-day basis.

TIO is cooperating with another “working” religious calendar project being led by Read the Spirit. It extends what we usually mean by religious calendar to include important civic holidays. It identifies major religious holidays more than a year in advance. Most important, it features stories about what these many religious festival events are all about – what they mean, the important stories, the food associated, and how particular events are celebrated. Your own stories of religious holidays, whatever your tradition, are welcomed at the site. Check it out!

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For Native Americans, August marks the season of Wilhoon, the season marking the salmon runs of late summer; the Hopi Snake Dances, marking a sixteen-day ritual of purification; the Stomp Dance, performed by Seminole and other Oklahoma tribes as a time of renewal and purification; the Sun Dance, observed by Plains peoples (Arapaho, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Arikara, Crow, Sioux, and others) as a time of penitence and sacrifice; and the Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony, a time of renewal involving dances, fasting, offerings, and readings from the code of Handsome Lake.


Tuesday, July 12

  • Kalimát – Bahá’í
    The beginning of the seventh month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “words.”


Thursday, July 14

  • Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha – Catholic Christianity and Native American spirituality
    Celebrating the life and ministry of Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – April 17, 1680), a Mohawk-Algonquin woman who is the first Native American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. She was so recognized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, over three hundred years after her death.


Thursday, July 14

  • Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha – Catholic Christianity and Native American spirituality
    Celebrating the life and ministry of Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – April 17, 1680), a Mohawk-Algonquin woman who is the first Native American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. She was so recognized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, over three hundred years after her death.


Friday, July 15

  • Chaturmas – Hinduism and Jainism
    This day marks the beginning of a four-month period (ending in November) during which time devotees observe some form of vow. Penance, fasting, and other religious observances mark this period. It is considered an inauspicious time for weddings or thread ceremonies.


Tuesday, July 19

  • Dharma Day (Asalha Puja Day) – Buddhism
    This day commemorates the historical Buddha’s first sermon, called “Turning of the wheel of Dharma (Dhamma),” following his own enlightenment. The following day marks the beginning of the three-month Vassa or “Rains Retreat” for Theravadin Buddhist monks and nuns. This period is a time for training in Dharma studies, meditation practice, and giving religious services to the people.

  • Ullambana – Buddhism
    A day when Buddhists make offerings to the Triple Gem—the Buddha, the Dharma [teachings], and the Sangha [monastic community]—on behalf of their ancestors.

  • Obon – Buddhism
    A Japanese festival to honor deceased ancestors, usually involving the lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, and folk dancing. Locally this festival is celebrated at various times in July and August.

  • Gurū Purnima – Hinduism
    This day celebrates the ancient Hindu sage Krishna Dvaipayana, also known as Veda Vyāsa, who is credited as the compiler of the sacred Vedas, the author of the Eighteen Puranas (supplementary texts), and credited with writing the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata. The term “gurū” refers to a teacher or remover of darkness. Buddhists also mark this day as an opportunity to thank their teachers.


Friday, July 22

  • Feast of St. Mary Magdalene – Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Christian churches
    Also known as the Penitent, Mary Magdalene is celebrated as one of Jesus’ earliest and most faithful disciples, after being healed by him. She is also recognized as a witness to Jesus’ death and the first recorded witness of his resurrection on Easter.


Saturday, July 23

  • Birthday of Emperor Haile Salassi I – Rastafari
    Celebrating the birth of Ras [prince or chief] Tafari Makonnen (1892 – 1975 C.E.), who ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1974 (officially from 1930 to 1974), and who is professed by faithful Rasta believers as God incarnate.

  • Birthday of Gurū Har Krishan Sahib Ji – Sikhism
    Marking the birth of the 8th and youngest of the 11 Sikh Gurūs (1656 – 1664 C.E.) in the Nanakshahi calendar.

  • Khordad Sal – Zoroastrianism
    The birth anniversary of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster), according to the Qadimi calendar.


Sunday, July 24

  • Pioneer Day – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Celebrated annually as the anniversary of the entry of LDS pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, in Utah in 1847 C.E., after a historic trek across 1,300 miles of wilderness.


Saturday, July 30

  • Oharai-taisai – Shinto
    A purification ceremony to cleanse believers from offenses committed during the first half of the year. A large ring of woven grasses and reeds is placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines, and people walk through the ring as a symbol of inner purification.


Friday, July 31

  • Kamál – Bahá’í
    The beginning of the eighth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “perfection.”


Monday, August 1

  • Lughnassadh [Lammas] – Wicca
    The harvest of first fruits, celebrating the harvest of corn and wheat. Wiccan practitioners see this time as a signal of the god Lugh’s decline of strength as the sun rises farther south each day, while the Goddess witnesses this season with sorrow and joy. It is both a somber and celebratory feast day.


Saturday, August 6

  • Feast of the Transfiguration – Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
    Celebrates the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity as God’s Son to his disciples Peter, James, and John on Mount Tabor.


Monday, August 8

  • Fravardeghan Days [Muktad] begin – Zoroastrianism
    A time of memorializing one’s ancestors in preparation for Nowruz [see August 18], according to Zoroastrians who follow the Shenshai calendar.


Saturday, August 13

  • Tisha B’Av – Judaism
    A solemn day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history coinciding with this date, beginning at sundown.


Monday, August 15

  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Christianity [Catholic churches]
    According to the Catholic Church, this day commemorates how, at the end of her life, Jesus’ mother Mary was assumed—body and soul—into heaven, where she intercedes for all believers.


Monday, August 15

  • Dormition of the Theotokos or Most Holy Mother of God – Christianity [Orthodox churches]
    According to the Orthodox Church, this day marks Mary’s death and resurrection by God, as a sign to all believers of their ultimate destiny.

  • Dormition of the Theotokos or Most Holy Mother of God – Christianity [Orthodox churches]
    According to the Orthodox Church, this day marks Mary’s death and resurrection by God, as a sign to all believers of their ultimate destiny.


Wednesday, August 17

  • Zhōngyuán Jié [Ghost Festival] – Taoism
    According to Chinese Taoist belief, this day is when deceased ancestors visit the homes of the living. Families prepare feasts and set tables with empty chairs so that the living and the dead can share the meal together.

  • Ullambana – Buddhism
    A day when Buddhists make offerings to the Triple Gem—the Buddha, the Dharma [teachings], and the Sangha [monastic community]—on behalf of their ancestors.


Thursday, August 18

  • Narali Purnima or Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan – Hinduism
    Celebrating the end of monsoon season, marked by throwing coconuts to Varuna, the sea god. During this festival, girls and women tie amulets on their brothers’ wrists for protection against evil.

  • Nowruz – Zoroastrianism
    The start of the New Year for Zoroastrians who follow the Shenshai calendar, beginning the year 1386 AY [After Yazdegird III, the last of the Persian Zoroastrian monarchs].


Friday, August 19

  • Asmā’ – Bahá’í
    The beginning of the ninth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “names.”


Monday, August 22

  • Khordad Sal – Zoroastrianism
    The birth anniversary of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster), according to the Shenshai calendar.


Thursday, August 25

  • Sri Krishna Jayanti or Krishna Janmashtami – Hinduism
    A festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu, whose purpose was to destroy the demon Kansa who was responsible for evil’s increase in the world.


Friday, August 26

  • Festival of Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva – Buddhism
    Celebrating Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva, the savior of beings who suffer in the hellish realms, as well as the guardian of expectant mothers, travelers, and deceased children in Japanese culture.


Friday, August 26

  • Festival of Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva – Buddhism
    Celebrating Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva, the savior of beings who suffer in the hellish realms, as well as the guardian of expectant mothers, travelers, and deceased children in Japanese culture.


Monday, August 29

  • Paryushana-parva begins [until Monday, September 5] – Jainism
    The holiest period of the year for the ascetic Shvetambara sect, this festival celebrates Jain ideals through fasting, worship, and reading the life-story of Lord Mahavira from the Kalpasutra.

 

If you want more information about any of these holy days, please contact UCSF Medical Center Spiritual Care Services at 415-353-1941 (Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark)

Our thanks to the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, the Multifaith Action Society of British Columbia (Canada), BBC’s Religion Website, Peel Schools District Board (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the Arizona State University Provost’s Office, the NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, and www.interfaithcalendar.org

To subscribe to this calendar and sync it with your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendars, visit http://ucsfspiritcare.org and select the “Resources” menu

·         Birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints